I guess a lot of people have things that they don’t like to talk about. Things that make them uncomfortable or that dredge up bad memories or feeling from the past.
In my house and for me in particular it is my Nan.
Nanny on my Mum’s side of the family died of cancer around 8 years ago. She was ill for a while and her health deteriorated rapidly, so by her 60th Birthday, it had spread to her brain.
We have a picture on the mantelpiece. It was after the family party and she’s wearing a red dress that my Mum had bought her from Marks & Spencer with little white flowers on it. All aubern hair, she is surrounded by about 50 bunches of flowers and has the most beautiful smile on her face. But she can’t see them and couldn’t see her loving family at the party, blind from the cancer.
She died a few weeks later.
I remember, i was out with my friends. I was too young to be drinking, so a bunch of us had told our parents that we were going to someone’s house. We were on the local common drinking Diamond White out of the cans that i’d bought becasue i looked the oldest. I rang my Dad to tell him that i’d be a bit late home and was surprised when he said that was ok… usually i would have been in trouble.
When i got home, my Dad cuddled me and said that she had died and that my Mum had been with her. I wanted to go and see her to say goodbye but my parents said it wasn’t a good idea. I was supposed to be there that night, but i’d been more interested in going out and drinking illegally. I didn’t get to say goodbye.
It hit my Mum hard. I had never seen her so upset, sitting and crying, listening to the songs that my Nan had asked to be played at the funeral. I couldn’t talk to her about it. All i could do was hug her and try and make it a bit better.
I read a poem at the funeral and everyone said how brave i was. For me, it wasn’t bravery, i was trying to make up for not having been there.
Still now, eight years on, my Mum can’t talk about it without crying.
And i’ve never had anyone to talk to about how I felt.